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  #1  
Old 08-07-2012, 04:01 PM
MountainBadger MountainBadger is offline
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So Amazon just threw a Steven Erikson book into my "Recommended for You" section, but I've never read any of his books and the reviews seem to be mixed. Any opinions out there on his writing? Thanks!
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Old 08-07-2012, 04:16 PM
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So Amazon just threw a Steven Erikson book into my "Recommended for You" section, but I've never read any of his books and the reviews seem to be mixed. Any opinions out there on his writing? Thanks!
It varies, some people here really enjoy his books. I read the first three but was thoroughly annoyed even before starting chapter 1 of book 1, though most of that stems from Erikson's writing style: narcissism is just not my cup of tea.

If you like Jordan, and you haven't read them yet, try a Song of Ice and Fire by Martin or Hobb's Farseer and subsequent trilogies. Stylistically Rothfuss is also a bit similar to Jordan... oh, and of course Sanderson has some brilliant work of his own. The classics can be amusing, if only to see the somewhat dated ideologies float by: Anne MacCaffrey's Pern stories and Asimov are really entertaining.
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Old 08-07-2012, 04:38 PM
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I'm actually about half way through the first in his Malazan Book of the Fallen series, and so far I've found it a little bit of a slog to get through. It's not that it's bad exactly, but you're thrown straight into the middle of a series of events about which you have no prior knowledge, in a world that you don't know, and with characters who've had a fairly messed up past. As you read through things do slowly start to make more sense as you get to know the characters and the setting. I've been informed by the person who recommended it to me that the series keeps getting better and better, but I can't confirm that for myself yet.

It's also quite heavy on the doom and gloom side of things, so if that's not your cup of tea I'd give it a miss.

I'd also second yks 6nnetu hing's suggestion of Rothfuss. In my opinion his is the best new series to come out in the last few years.
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by yks 6nnetu hing View Post
It varies, some people here really enjoy his books. I read the first three but was thoroughly annoyed even before starting chapter 1 of book 1, though most of that stems from Erikson's writing style: narcissism is just not my cup of tea.

If you like Jordan, and you haven't read them yet, try a Song of Ice and Fire by Martin or Hobb's Farseer and subsequent trilogies. Stylistically Rothfuss is also a bit similar to Jordan... oh, and of course Sanderson has some brilliant work of his own. The classics can be amusing, if only to see the somewhat dated ideologies float by: Anne MacCaffrey's Pern stories and Asimov are really entertaining.
Thanks for the feedback. When this recommendation popped up, I thought I'd seek some advice before I made the financial commitment since I already have the GRRM series and am trying to fit them in sometime during my current WOT reread. I am always adding more books to my reading list than I have time to read. Now I'm going to have to add some of your recommendations. Thanks again!
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:17 PM
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I am currently reading the Malazan book of the fallen series. I am on the third book Memories of Ice. I really do enjoy the book but i was also a fan of the Black Company and it kinda reminds me of it. Not to mention Kruppe is one of my favorite characters in the series so far.
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:39 PM
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Erikson himself has said people either love the books or hate them. Personally I love them, and though WoT is my favorite fantasy series, Malazan is probably in second place. Just a few random thoughts on it:

While the core plot itself is easy enough to follow, there are parts of the story where you kind of just read a passage over, sit there, and think ok, wtf just happened? A lot of it is simply never explained satisfactorily. Many of the characters are very similar to each other. Erikson also seems to have a habit of creating at least one "badass" character per book, which gets kind of weird when some of them are defeated by characters presumably weaker than they are or just killed off randomly altogether. As for the writing itself, I think it gets better as the series goes on. Ironically, though, the story kind of gets worse (not too bad, though) as it goes on, too. Also, I don't think Erikson's humor always works very well. Sometimes he's funny, but a lot of the time you can almost hear SE thinking, ok, I going to be funny now.

As for what's good... If you like battle scenes, no one in fantasy writes them better than Erikson. And while action doesn't always equal a good story, the books always end with an over-the-top but awesome conclusion. If you like extensive histories in fantasy works, the Malazan world has a 300,000 year history, much of which (well, sort of) is revealed as the series goes. It's kind of fun to have the history be revealed through vague, brief snippets over the course of the series. The series is also very fast-paced, with PoV changes occurring rapidly, sort of like the Cleansing scene in WoT, but for the entire course of the books. And then, of course, there's the fact that Erikson actually finished his series in a timely fashion, with no need to keep adding in new books to draw the story out.
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:11 AM
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Couldn't get through the first book of the series, even though I started on it while I was stuck a week alone in Albany doing archival research. Too much magical rubbish to my mind. Stop by my house and you can have my copy.
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:08 AM
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Erikson himself has said people either love the books or hate them.
and THAT is why I was pre-annoyed before even starting the first chapter. I made the mistake of reading the foreword where he congratulates himself and preens like a little goblin on a pile of manure. Personally, I got rather peeved when he compared himself to Umberto Eco. Nobody gets to compare THEMSELVES to Eco who is possibly the best writer alive in terms of intricate story-telling and excellent prose, infused with top-notch humour and combined with deep philosophical and ethical thought (Recommended reading: Foucault's Pendulum). Particularly considering that Erikson completely ignores the philosophical and ethical thought and his humour is very slapstick.

But anyways, as I said, my problems with Malazan stem directly from the writing style which I consider to be self-congratulatory and narcissistic while actually never even reaching to the mediocre level of the Fantasy genre.

Quote:
While the core plot itself is easy enough to follow, there are parts of the story where you kind of just read a passage over, sit there, and think ok, wtf just happened? A lot of it is simply never explained satisfactorily.
that I dont'have a problem with. It's all magic, right, so it doesn't have to make sense. Same with the timeline issues, btw.

Quote:
Many of the characters are very similar to each other. Erikson also seems to have a habit of creating at least one "badass" character per book, which gets kind of weird when some of them are defeated by characters presumably weaker than they are or just killed off randomly altogether. As for the writing itself, I think it gets better as the series goes on. Ironically, though, the story kind of gets worse (not too bad, though) as it goes on, too. Also, I don't think Erikson's humor always works very well. Sometimes he's funny, but a lot of the time you can almost hear SE thinking, ok, I going to be funny now.
I had serious problems relating to his characters. The ones I liked it was obvious the reader was not supposed to like and/or they got killed off.

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As for what's good... If you like battle scenes, no one in fantasy writes them better than Erikson. And while action doesn't always equal a good story, the books always end with an over-the-top but awesome conclusion.
uh. Disagree heavily on that one. Jordan writes good battle scenes, as does Sanderson, as does Rothfuss. But not Erikson, his are... I just couldn't get excited about them, but that may be because I really didn't care who won, so that harks back to the character thing and the prose thing.

Quote:
If you like extensive histories in fantasy works, the Malazan world has a 300,000 year history, much of which (well, sort of) is revealed as the series goes. It's kind of fun to have the history be revealed through vague, brief snippets over the course of the series. The series is also very fast-paced, with PoV changes occurring rapidly, sort of like the Cleansing scene in WoT, but for the entire course of the books. And then, of course, there's the fact that Erikson actually finished his series in a timely fashion, with no need to keep adding in new books to draw the story out.
I did like the history being revealed in snippets, I thought that was clevelry done. But the series is IMHO not that fast-paced, it moves like a glacier, grinding underneath it the poor creatures (=characters) who get in the way. Which, actually, I found a quite interesting way to write a story. I just wouldn't call it fast-paced, lol.

all in all, as I said in the beginning, most of my issues with the series have to do with the writing style (and the fact that the writer is a narcissistic twit), if you don't have that problem then I suspect you might enjoy the series.
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:36 AM
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and THAT is why I was pre-annoyed before even starting the first chapter. I made the mistake of reading the foreword where he congratulates himself and preens like a little goblin on a pile of manure.


I have read the first...three...or maybe four now. I am persevering with them because I like a challenge, but they do not suck me in like other series. I much preferred Game of Thrones, despite the obvious flaws.

Is the Farseer trilogy the first of Robin Hobb's book sets? I have seen him in the shops over the years but am I right in thinking he has a number of different series? I was never sure where to start...
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:58 AM
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Is the Farseer trilogy the first of Robin Hobb's book sets? I have seen him in the shops over the years but am I right in thinking he has a number of different series? I was never sure where to start...
Her. Robin Hobb is a she. There are three finished trilogies and one unfinished series (I think it will be a quadrilogy; 3 are out in any case) in the Six Dutchies/Elderling realm; the first book in the first trilogy and the logical starting point is Assassin's Apprentice. If you like Fitz (main character of Assassin's Apprentice), then technically you could skip the 2nd trilogy, the Liveship Traders one - though personally, I liked that one the best, and it is good to have read the 2nd before you read the 4th series.

She also has a trilogy set in a completely different world which most of her normal fans didn't like as much but I thought it was really quite interesting, particularly the topics of identity and body image she brought up there.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:20 AM
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Her. Robin Hobb is a she. There are three finished trilogies and one unfinished series (I think it will be a quadrilogy; 3 are out in any case) in the Six Dutchies/Elderling realm; the first book in the first trilogy and the logical starting point is Assassin's Apprentice. If you like Fitz (main character of Assassin's Apprentice), then technically you could skip the 2nd trilogy, the Liveship Traders one - though personally, I liked that one the best, and it is good to have read the 2nd before you read the 4th series.

She also has a trilogy set in a completely different world which most of her normal fans didn't like as much but I thought it was really quite interesting, particularly the topics of identity and body image she brought up there.

She? Okay, now you're just being silly. Girls cant write books.

Seriously though, not a big fan of Erikson. I own the first 3 and have lost my way about 100 pages into the 1st one each time I've tried to get into them.

Guy Gavriel Kay (GGK) is another great author to read...FWIW.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by yks 6nnetu hing View Post
Her. Robin Hobb is a she. There are three finished trilogies and one unfinished series (I think it will be a quadrilogy; 3 are out in any case) in the Six Dutchies/Elderling realm; the first book in the first trilogy and the logical starting point is Assassin's Apprentice. If you like Fitz (main character of Assassin's Apprentice), then technically you could skip the 2nd trilogy, the Liveship Traders one - though personally, I liked that one the best, and it is good to have read the 2nd before you read the 4th series.

She also has a trilogy set in a completely different world which most of her normal fans didn't like as much but I thought it was really quite interesting, particularly the topics of identity and body image she brought up there.
Ooops, my bad. Thanks tho, I will look them up. I'm slowly starting to buy books for my Kindle now, they might be a good addition to my wish list
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:53 PM
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garbage. complete and utter garbage!

starts in the middle with a bunch of people you dont give a shit about... I can understand a book sucking for a few chapters before picking up, but a series that sucks for 3 or 4 books before getting moderately better is just trash...
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:25 PM
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I have read the whole series. I liked it. I didn't love it, and I didn't hate it. There isn't a very solid plot to the whole thing. There is just too much going on in every book. Too many civilizations, too many characters. Too many gods, demi-gods, emperors, generals, mages, wizards and other crazy-powerful beings.

Spoiler:
You kind of have this sense through most of the books that the Crippled God is important. But you're not really sure why until the very end. And then you're still not really sure what the whole deal was with him.

My favorite character in the books was Karsa Orlong. I was hoping he would have a meaningful part in the last book, but no... At least he kicked a$$ absolutely everywhere he went.

I was disappointed with Silverfox, but maybe that was the point. I didn't really like Icarium, either. His storyline didn't really make much sense to me in the end. And I didn't like the whole jade giant thing. It was just weird. "Hey everybody, the world is about to end! Wait... nevermind, someone just saved the world. Carry on."
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:02 PM
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Watch the spoilers. I know you were vague-ish, but in a thread designated for people who haven't read the books, it's best to use spoiler tags. I haven't finished the series yet and it seemed a little spoilery to me. Okay, it was a lot spoilery.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:55 PM
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It has some awesome characters. Except that once you like them, they tend to not show up that much anymore. Or have any useful explanations.

The plot is straight out of a D&D campaign by a bad DM. Seriously. The origins of his world were for a D&D campaign that he and the other author played and tried to turn into a script for screen and failed. So they decided to novelize it. It shows. Badly. Virtually all of the inconsistencies, timeline issues, and flat out errors by the author are likely to stem from what playing with (or being) a bad DM at D&D.

There are absolute huge chunks of boring ... words. That sounds stupid (they are books), but it was just repetitious nonsense. Not filler, just bloat. RJ's repetition was bad in the middle (Elayne's baths et all), but SE doesn't even pretend for his words to be other than bloat, IMO.

The end of the story ruined the whole series for me, fwiw.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:11 PM
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I finished the whole series. Seemed like playing Diablo 2. I mean, it is less a book and more a RPG plot but one where you change characters in-between different scenes.

My pet peeves: Magic is really magical [No idea what anyone can do at any time. Great feats just pulled out of ... (wherever)]. Fighting (swordplay) is really fantastic, where other people stand around and say "wow! what a fantastic fight" and you have to believe them (telling, never showing). Apart from the magic, the random things are more common than common happenstance. You are following an awesome character who looks invincible and he suddenly trips on a stone and breaks his neck (exaggeration but not too much). Then a wimp (so far) comes out of a crowd, and fills the void that death created. About 500 characters who can destroy the world at a whim. Another 500 who can but who do not know they can. Finally, the climax of the book was wimpy. The conclusion of a 10-book series ends as a setup for several other books.

Lol, then why did I read it? Well, I liked it well enough in the beginning, the middles and until slightly before the end. Only after the end, when I felt completely ripped off, did I go back and analyze what I had read. And decided to never buy any of his other books again.

The Ending is just slightly better than that of the Gunslinger series .



Edited to Add: Dragon Thief has said nearly the same things a me, while I was typing.

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Old 08-08-2012, 10:12 PM
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I agree that Erikson is very arrogant, but I guess I don't mind that too much. Then again, IMO at least, his works are as good as if not better than most others in the fantasy genre, so I feel like he earns at least a part of that arrogance. Though I agree his writing style is a bit much at times in this regard.



Also, it seems like a lot of people's complaints involve the fact that the ending isn't satisfactory, several characters just drop out of the story randomly, etc. One thing I think new readers should keep in mind is that the entire series, epic in scale though it is, is itself only a very small snippet of what's going on in the world at the time. There are many issues going on in the world, so rather than cover each one fully, SE shows a part of a lot of different ones, mostly so he can write about them later and have readers already familiar with the general idea.

One thing I like about this is that it makes the world seem more realistic. In WoT, you never really get much of a sense that there's a whole bunch of other stuff going on outside Randland. And it's not that nothing is happening, but RJ just chose to focus mainly on Rand because it's his story. But in Malazan, you get introduced to many more/more varied cultures, even if they aren't directly related to the story. I think it's just a matter of preference, though. A lot of people hate it; I tend to enjoy it.

One more point about the conclusion to the series (no spoilers). Again, just my opinion, by I actually like the fact that you don't get all the answers at the end. I'd always thought it would be cool to have a fantasy series where you get all the answers at the end, but after reading Mistborn, I'm not so sure. Sanderson basically seems to go through a checklist of unanswered questions in the third book, resulting in what I thought was a really clunky conclusion to the trilogy. The Crippled God is by no means a perfect conclusion to Malazan, but I think a lot of people read it expecting to get complete answers to the series, and that just isn't how Erikson chooses to reveal the Malazan world, love it or hate it.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:12 AM
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I agree on the ending of Mistborn...I absolutely hated it.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:12 AM
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Terez Terez is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rand View Post
I agree that Erikson is very arrogant, but I guess I don't mind that too much. Then again, IMO at least, his works are as good as if not better than most others in the fantasy genre, so I feel like he earns at least a part of that arrogance. Though I agree his writing style is a bit much at times in this regard.
I happened to enjoy his style more as the books went on, which seems to be opposite to the more long-term fans of the series. I just got a little lost by the time it got to DOD with no reread, which I probably won't manage until WoT is done. TTH made me really happy because of the unique approach he took to the narrative (mostly as it relates to Kruppe). What didn't make me happy was that old Andii dude and his internal monologues. I skimmed the hell out of those chapters. I will probably read them more closely next time when I'm not so anxious to find out what happens. I was also a bit grossed out at times; I understand he was writing that one when his father died? Or just after. It was a dark book.
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